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Governing profit does not work

A strange precedent is being set by Congress. If legislators don't mend their ways, it could lead to serious financial troubles.

We're speaking of the United States Postal Service, which for too long has been handled in a highly undemocratic manner. It actually is required to operate as a business and show a profit.

Is this some sort of conservative plot to kill taxes, or is it an aberration for a spendthrift governing body? Luckily, this thinking hasn't become common yet, so there might be time to save American government as we have learned to love it.

Show a profit? Next they'll want the Defense Department to do the same thing, and it's difficult to imagine how that will play out. It isn't easy, you know, to sell a war. Only such public relations experts as Dick Cheney can do that.

To save the Defense Department, will those who defend us be required to run overstocked sales and used missile closeouts?

You can see it now in glittering letters: "Overstocked bargains. Three used nuclear submarines for low price of $1.3 billion each. Only operated in cold polar waters; never been depth-charged. Can be inspected on Facebook or at Norfolk Naval Yard. If not sold by July 1st will be given to Israel. -- Contact Secretary of Defense for particulars at us.defense.dept.com."

If profitability becomes a requirement for United States government departments, what could come next? Will the food-stamp program need to finish in the black? Or the Department of Housing and Urban Development?

The most obvious source of federal income would be the Supreme Court's decision for election funding. You remember its decision that any millionaire can spend as much as he likes to influence elections? Well, if you carry this decision to its logical conclusion, Congress could charge as much as it likes for votes on issues.

Right now, many people think Congress' votes go to their biggest backers anyway. So why not require our senators and representatives to sell their votes to the highest bidders? The only change we would make is to require them to turn over the sales price to the U.S. Treasury.

I'm aware this sounds ridiculous. OK, but is it more ridiculous than requiring a profitable Postal Service?

I like the post office and don't want to see it go bankrupt or close. I think American people need its services. So let's forget this nonsense about profits and go back to the wasteful Washington we know and admire.

At stake are two centuries of precedents that gave unlimited financial support to all kinds of doubtful programs. If we can't trust Congress to give away our tax money, how can we trust their judgment on anything else?

If you love America, stand up bravely and confront such un-American actions.

Darrel Miller lives near Downs in rural Osborne County and is a retired weekly newspaper editor.